Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

Marriage Equality Petition Delivered to Attorney General Suthers: Stop Wasting Taxpayer Dollars – Stop the Appeals

Why Marriage Matters logo

July 17, 2014

More than 5,000 Coloradans signed a petition that was delivered today to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, urging him to stop wasting the state’s resources and allow all loving, committed couples the freedom to marry.

A group of couples and their families, faith leaders, elected officials, and community leaders from Why Marriage Matters Colorado gathered at the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center over the lunch hour to present the petition signatures and ask Attorney General Suthers to stop his legal appeal and continued defense of Colorado’s discriminatory marriage ban.

There have been more than 20 consecutive state and federal court rulings across the country declaring that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. Earlier this month, Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree declared Colorado’s marriage ban unconstitutional. A federal 10th Circuit Court decision struck down a similar ban in Utah last month that could ultimately impact Colorado’s ban; a stay on that order will expire next Monday. There is also a pending federal case against Colorado’s marriage ban.
Pamela Thiele and Lauren Fortmiller, who have been together for 13 years, said, “Attorney General Suthers is absolutely correct: we do need clarity. Gay families need clarity. The shortest route to clarity is to listen to the judges in Colorado and across the nation who have already said there is no valid opposing argument. Do we need to ask again? Let the judgment stand. Let us be. Let us be married.”

“Why does Attorney General Suthers insist on continuing his one-man crusade against the freedom to marry here in our state?” asked Dave Montez, executive director of statewide LGBT advocacy group One Colorado. “He concedes this ban is likely to be found unconstitutional. You have to wonder if this is more about rumors of his upcoming run for Mayor of Colorado Springs than anything else – and pandering to the right-wing extremists of his party. But Mr. Suthers, if this is really about your personal political ambitions, then thousands of our families should not be asked to pay the price. The people of Colorado deserve better.”

“Even Attorney General Suthers has acknowledged that Colorado’s marriage ban is not likely to pass constitutional muster. If he’s looking for legal clarity, he can look to Republican Governors in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nevada, who all recently decided to stop wasting taxpayer dollars defending similar indefensible bans,” said Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, ACLU of Colorado Executive Director.

The online petition support underscores popular support of freedom to marry – a recent Quinnipiac poll showed 61% of Coloradans now favor marriage equality.

Why Marriage Matters Colorado is broadening the dialogue with Coloradans about why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their families and why it is consistent with the values of liberty and freedom. More information on this statewide initiative – which is being spearheaded by leading statewide LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, ACLU of Colorado, and Freedom to Marry – can be found here: 

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